Steven Gerrard insists Aston Villa ‘didn’t want to lose a very important player so late in the window’ after rejecting a £25 million bid from Premier League rivals Arsenal for Douglas Luiz, speaking to The Independent.
When Villa reached a breakthrough in talks to sign Leander Dendoncker from Midland neighbours Wolves, Mikel Arteta and co might have hoped that this would open the door for Douglas Luiz to seal a big-money move to the Emirates Stadium.
But, after Villa rejected no fewer than three deadline day bids, those hopes were quickly extinguished.
Per Fabrizio Romano, Brazil international Luiz agreed a five-year contract with table-topping Arsenal. He wanted the move.
But Gerrard believes that the one-time Manchester City youngster – who worked with Arteta at the Etihad Stadium – can put his disappointment to one side as Aston Villa look to recover from a dismal start to the new Premier League season.
ARSENAL MISS OUT AS ASTON VILLA REFUSE TO SELL DOUGLAS LUIZ
“I’ve got confidence he’ll understand the situation” says under-fire Gerrard ahead of Saturday’s daunting home clash with City. “And the club’s decision.
“We didn’t want to lose a very important player and a top player so late in the window.
“From a personal point of view, I very much back the club’s decision and stance on that. I spoke to Dougie face to face yesterday. And he understood where it was at, and the position that the club was in.
“He very much respects the decision. Hopefully it will calm down in the hours and days to come and he’ll be fine moving forward.”
Luiz is now playing in his favoured box-to-box role after Aston Villa signed an orthodox ‘number six’ in Boubacar Kamara. He’s even scored two so-called ‘Olympic goals’ in his last three games. After finding the net directly from a corner against Bolton Wanderers in the EFL Cup, he repeated the trick against, funnily enough, Arsenal last weekend.
The Gunners, meanwhile, turned to Luiz after losing both Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny to injury.